San Marcos,
08:22 AM

Research Plays Key Role for Human Development Faculty

By Eric Breier

Faculty members in Cal State San Marcos’ human development program are in agreement when it comes to their students: The students all want to make a difference in people’s lives.

“These kids want to change the world, and they can have a major that actively works at that,” said Alice Quiocho, director of CSUSM’s human development department in the College of Education, Health and Human Services.

CSUSM’s human development program provides students with a strong foundation for career development in working with people with diverse needs and backgrounds.

“The faculty here are open to possibilities,” Quiocho said. “They’re open to thinking outside the box.”

Human development contributes to promoting quality of life by understanding how individuals develop and change from conception to death; how environments influence individual development; and how basic knowledge of human development can be used to develop and assess programs to improve the lives of individuals.

Research plays a large role in the work human development faculty do with CSUSM students. Here’s a closer look at some of their projects:


Rodney Beaulieu

Beaulieu is an assistant professor whose research interests are action oriented, focusing on methods to improve personal development, organizations and communities.

He recently published a research article in Cogent Education titled, “A Critical Discourse Analysis of Teacher-Student Relationships in a Third-Grade Literacy Lesson: Dynamics of Microaggression.”

The study focused on a recording from a week of third-grade classroom sessions that was used to train new teachers in a certification program.

While the third-grade teacher was described as “outstanding” and “culturally responsive” by the university professor who had been using the recording to train teacher candidates, Beaulieu’s article notes that critical discourse analysis revealed microaggressions that prioritized white males, among other findings. The recording was eventually withdrawn from the certification program.

Beaulieu also submitted to the Journal of Practitioner Research a research project titled “A Practitioner Research Model for Human Services” and co-authored a recently submitted article to Administrative Science titled “The Self-Action Leadership Model: A Qualitative, Nomological Expansion of Self-Leadership Theory Rooted in Action Research Theory.”

Beaulieu is part of a team presenting at a poster session next month at the 2016 Gerontological Society of America Conference. The project is titled “An Action Research Approach to Adapting Jaques-Dalcroze Eurhythmics as a Community Fall Prevention Program for American Older Adults.” The project included CSUSM kinesiology interns who supported the older adult clients.


Rafael Hernández

Hernández is an assistant professor who is collaborating on a project that provides academic support for Chicano/Latino males.

F.U.E.RZA is a mentoring program developed within the Pathways to Academic Success and Opportunities Hispanic-Serving Institution grant at CSUSM.

Hernández said the program is designed to meet the needs of Chicano/Latino male students in their second year with resources and support not currently available to them.

Other collaborators on the project include Marisol Clark-Ibáñez, professor of sociology; Leo Melena, Director of Student Success in the College of Humanities, Arts, Behavioral & Social Sciences; Leandro Galaz, lecturer in the Department of Social Work; Crystal Guerrero, peer mentor; and Nancy Peñaloza, peer mentor.

Research on the program examines how F.U.E.RZA mentors manage their intersecting identities, navigate their own personal journeys through higher education and “reach back” to help others overcome obstacles on the path to graduation.

“We hope that what we learn from our research will enhance the F.U.E.RZA mentoring program’s ability to support and empower our students, inform institutional efforts to reduce educational inequalities, and inspire similar programs in this and other universities,” Hernández said.

Hernández noted that the program isn’t concerned solely with issues of race or ethnicity. He said it also aims to encourage critical reflection about how race, ethnicity, class, gender, sexual orientation, age, disability, immigration status and other identities intersect to impact students’ experiences and journeys in higher education.


Fernando Soriano

Soriano is a professor who is working on three projects with a fourth in the planning stages.

His project “Early Developmental Exposure to Violence Among College Students” assesses childhood and adolescent exposure to violence among university students. Soriano said preliminary findings showed that 89 percent of the 272 college students who participated in an online survey experienced at least one form of community violence either by witnessing it, experiencing it, perpetrating it or simply knowing that it happened near them all before turning 18.

Soriano said additional analyses are being conducted to examine the exposure to violence among various cultural groups and to identify risk and protective factors.

Another project, titled “Youth University Mentorship and Food Culinary Skills Training Program,” is working to engage human development and College of Business Administration undergraduates in mentoring and training a group of students from area alternative high schools in culinary arts and food services with the intent to start a self-supported university-based food cart. One of the project’s goals is to prepare students for various occupations in food-service sectors.

Soriano also is working on a “Surfing Youth Prevention Program.” He said the focus is on developing a pilot prevention program that will use training in swimming and surfing as means of integrating low-income multicultural high-school youth within mainline society and culture while enhancing their self-concept and positive identity. Soriano is collaborating on the project with kinesiology professor Sean Newcomer.


Noriko Toyokawa

Toyokawa is an assistant professor whose work focuses on family relationships and health across adulthood.

“As a family gerontologist, I have been trying to understand how family relationships are linked with health in later life,” she said.

Toyokawa’s current research projects examine:

  • Intergenerational relationships in adulthood.
  • Cross-cultural comparison of aging and family relationships.
  • Older couples’ stress processes within dyads.

Toyokawa said the first project aims to understand the negotiation process of aging parents’ autonomy and adult children’s legitimacy of intervening into that autonomy. She said she is working on developing a measure to assess adult children’s domain-specific intervention into parental autonomy and parents’ domain-specific acceptance of adult children’s intervention.

The second project focuses on investigating the commonalities and differences in the value and practice of familism between Latino and Asian cultural contexts.

Toyokawa’s third research project examines family members’ mutual influence on their aging processes. She looks at custodial grandmothers’ and grandfathers’ mutual influence in the process of caregiving-related stressors.

“I employ a variety of research methods that can capture trajectories of individuals’ changes over time, differences of the patterns of changes among individuals and interdependence of family members in developmental processes and outcomes,” she said.